Serving Global Warming
New report claims that between 1960 and 2001 global warming increased more in Texas than in any other state
Don't tell the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, but Environment Texas was frying little french toast pieces in the shape of the Lone Star State last Friday in front of the Federal building in downtown Austin. "Texas is in the frying pan with global warming," said Environment Texas advocate Luke Metzger. "To protect future generations from the effects of global warming, we need to stop this trend of increasing pollution." ET's new report, "The Carbon Boom," claims that while nationwide global warming pollution increased an average of 95% between 1960 and 2001, Texas' share jumped a staggering 178%, the largest increase of any state. The report suggests that coal and oil emissions are the main culprits, and that a movement toward renewable energy and efficiency programs is the solution.
"We can't keep digging this hole deeper by building more coal-fired power plants that increase the global warming gasses Texas produces," said Public Citizen Clean Energy Organizer Beth O'Brien, referring to the 15 new coal-fired power plants proposed for Texas. The number of miles driven statewide has also dramatically jumped in the last four decades from 41 billion in 1960 to 216 billion in 2001, a 132% per capita increase. The report notes that average fuel economy between 1987 and 2005 actually declined by 5%.
To avert the catastrophic events predicted if CO2 pollution continues at the status quo such as a 20-foot rise in sea levels due to the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet the report recommends mandatory limits on global warming gasses that reduce emissions from today's levels within 10 years: 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 possibly through cap and trade programs. The report estimates that the U.S. could reduce its electricity use by 28% by 2020 through energy efficiency measures, including replacing major appliances such as air conditioners. The Union of Concerned Scientists says an overall vehicle average of 40 mpg is possible in 10 years, which would cut national oil use by 2.3 million barrels per day (nearly all Persian Gulf imports) and reduce CO2 emissions by 400 million metric tons a year, according to the report. A national renewable energy standard of 20% by 2020 is another recommendation; such a shift would reduce CO2 emissions by 434 metric tons by 2020, the report says.
"Individual and family action is important, but the thing that will reduce global warming most meaningfully are dramatic systems changes toward renewable energy and fuels," said Bee Moorhead, director of interfaith advocacy group Texas Impact. Such changes should be expected of elected officials, who, she said, "must overcome their fear and act for the common good." For more info, see www.environmenttexas.org, www.stopthecoalplant.org, and www.texasimpact.org.